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Thread: Finishing vapour blasted aluminium

  1. #1
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    23rd October 2013 - 18:30
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    Finishing vapour blasted aluminium

    I recently had my W650 engine vapour blaster, and the finish is incredible (attached). Now that it's got this amazing finish I'm really considering keeping it raw like this rather than painting or otherwise finishing (other than polishing the side cases). I'm worried though that the finish will dull over time. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    The guy who did the vapour blasting (good dude, Steve in Pyes Pa, Tauranga, google Tauranga Vapour Blasting) uses a product called ACF-50 which is reapplies maybe once or twice a year. It's an oil-based (I presume) product, but I'd be worried about it getting dirty and attracting dust etc. I've considered painting with a matte clearcoat, but not sure how well clearcoat could stick directly to cast aluminium surfaces, and that could end up being a disaster.

    I'm open to any ideas or suggestions.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    ACF 50 is widely advertised in UK bike mags for its supposed corrosion resistance against winter road salt but I don't know how effective it is.

    Years ago, my GB 400 had some form of clear coat on the crankcase and polished covers. It seemed to last ok until our cat developed the habit of pissing up the engine (have no idea why). Cat piss is clearly effective in seeking out slight defects in the coating as it developed fine spider web lines of corrosion under the coating where capillary action dragged it in.

    Good luck in your search for a solution!

  3. #3
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    I'm no expert but...
    Was it clearcoated originally?
    I understand that most japanese engine cases are made from an alloy of aluminium and something else, that makes it stronger and less prone to heat expansion, so a good product for motors except that it corrodes like crazy and looks shithouse after the first winter.
    And that's why they are clearcoated at the factory.
    The guy who explained this to me said "It's a painted surface, clean it with detergent then wax it. Same as your tank and side covers"
    High miles, engine knock, rusty chrome, worn pegs...
    Brakes as new

  4. #4
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    Engine was not original coated at all.

  5. #5
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    Engine looks really good. I'm getting a vapour blast (wet sand blaster) attachment for my Karcher waterblaster, with a view to cleaning up the GS1100 engine that currently looks every one of its 37 years old. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sand-Blaste...6a7f%7Ciid%3A1
    it's not a bad thing till you throw a KLR into the mix.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete376403 View Post
    Engine looks really good. I'm getting a vapour blast (wet sand blaster) attachment for my Karcher waterblaster, with a view to cleaning up the GS1100 engine that currently looks every one of its 37 years old.
    Don't even think about using that on an assembled motor. Individual parts, yes, followed by comprehensive washing to remove all abrasive.

    Soda blast is the only safe thing to blast a complete motor with. And that won't remove stains in the castings.

    Vapor blast finish does actually last pretty well. I first used it probably 10 years ago. A customer in Auckland had access and got the cases, head and barrel of an Aermacchi single done. last time I saw it, it had been degreased a couple of times and still looked pretty good.
    In my experience, bead blasting leaves open pores on castings - which do hold muck. The vapor blast leaves a closed pore finish which very little sticks to.
    Got a set of Honda cases here at present which came to me looking like they'd been in Wgtn harbour for a couple of years. Finish is now better than new.
    Pressure diecastings come up better than sandcastings - the surface is smoother to start with.

    The only drawback to vapor blasting is the very fine abrasive - which is a bastard to completely clean out. These Honda cases looked pretty good when I got them back - but as they've sat, the abrasive has dried and dropped out of internal crevices...

    Edit - was that Kawasaki engine done complete ? Not something I'd recommend. Ever. Guy Martin recently lost two GSXR750 engines when testing. The frame had been vapor blasted then washed and scotchbrited. They traced the destroyed engines to abrasive coming out of the hollow frame spars....
    I will no longer see PM's on this a/c. If you wish to PM me, use grumphv2 a/c please - and include an email address if you require a reply.
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  7. #7
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    My CB500 had a clear coat on the engine but corrosion started under the coat and you couldn't get at it short of removng the coating.

    There is a YouTube clip of a guy cleaning his new Triumph 1200 and after cleaning he uses a product called GT85 which is like WD40 with PTFE to stop muck sticking. CRC make a similar product: "5.56 Industrial", but nobody much seemed to stock it last time I looked.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pritch View Post
    CRC make a similar product: "5.56 Industrial", but nobody much seemed to stock it last time I looked.
    I actually have this product in my garage. Scooped it a while ago from Asmuss over the road from work, so it's around.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumph View Post
    Don't even think about using that on an assembled motor. Individual parts, yes, followed by comprehensive washing to remove all abrasive.

    Soda blast is the only safe thing to blast a complete motor with. And that won't remove stains in the castings.

    Vapor blast finish does actually last pretty well. I first used it probably 10 years ago. A customer in Auckland had access and got the cases, head and barrel of an Aermacchi single done. last time I saw it, it had been degreased a couple of times and still looked pretty good.
    In my experience, bead blasting leaves open pores on castings - which do hold muck. The vapor blast leaves a closed pore finish which very little sticks to.
    Got a set of Honda cases here at present which came to me looking like they'd been in Wgtn harbour for a couple of years. Finish is now better than new.
    Pressure diecastings come up better than sandcastings - the surface is smoother to start with.

    The only drawback to vapor blasting is the very fine abrasive - which is a bastard to completely clean out. These Honda cases looked pretty good when I got them back - but as they've sat, the abrasive has dried and dropped out of internal crevices...

    Edit - was that Kawasaki engine done complete ? Not something I'd recommend. Ever. Guy Martin recently lost two GSXR750 engines when testing. The frame had been vapor blasted then washed and scotchbrited. They traced the destroyed engines to abrasive coming out of the hollow frame spars....
    for individual parts Sodium bicarbonate dissolves in water ..........
    For belts and braces run it through the dishwasher.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird View Post
    ACF 50 is widely advertised in UK bike mags for its supposed corrosion resistance against winter road salt but I don't know how effective it is
    ACF 50 is great stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjx5gqBZLfk
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